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Freezing temperatures on the way! Tips to protect your pets this winter

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 7: Tootsie is bundled up as she stands in the snow in the East Village neighborhood February 7, 2003 in New York City. The snowstorm is expected to cover the city with as much as six inches by nightfall. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

OKLAHOMA CITY – While many Oklahomans are grumbling about the cold temperatures, it can be easy to think that your pets are protected from the elements.

However, officials with Oklahoma City Animal Welfare say that is not the case.

In fact, if your pets don’t have a proper warm place to take shelter, the temperatures can be deadly.

Meteorologists say temperatures will dip into the teens with wind chills in the single digits overnight Monday, into Tuesday morning.

With temperatures that low, now is the time to take extra care of your pipes and your pets.

  • The first and most important tip is to keep your pet inside whenever possible. Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Always keep an ID tag on your pet’s neck so if he gets lost, he can be returned to you. If you lose your pet, visit okc.gov/animalwelfare to see pictures of animals that have been brought to the animal shelter.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he or she comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice after a walk. Dogs can ingest salt, antifreeze or other dangerous chemicals while licking their paws, and their paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in colder months, completely dry him before walks. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  • If your dog enjoys spending time outside, give him or her more food than usual to give the dog more protein, which helps grow a thick fur coat.
  • Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, opt to paper-train the puppy inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him or her outdoors only for bathroom breaks.
  • During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
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